A Tourist's New England: Travel Fiction, 1820-1920

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Overview

Dona Brown collects representative writings, beginning with Hawthorne in the 1830s, and ending with Edith Wharton and Sinclair Lewis in the 1920s, along with selections from other well-known and lesser-known figures. She organizes them into three parts: the first focuses on New England's much-celebrated scenery; the second explores intimate links between sexual and romantic themes and New England vacations; and the third surveys New England nostalgia.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This collection of previously published materials by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edith Wharton, Sinclair Lewis, and others includes both short stories and excerpts from longer works. Editor Brown's (history, Univ. of Vermont; Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the 19th Century) introduction is both well written and intelligent, providing historical background and including exceptional analysis of the writings. The selections are logically arranged, but many of them are too short to provide the reader with much insight into the topic. Since these stories can be found elsewhere, most of the book's value lies in the introduction. Brown would perhaps have been better off writing a book of literary and historical analysis instead, like her previous work. For comprehensive social history collections only.--Kathleen A. Shanahan, Kensington, MD Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Not only has the way of travel in New England changed since 1820 but so has the way of writing about it. In Brown's selections of descriptive tales by Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Dean Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, Edward Bellamy and Sinclair Lewis, among other less well known contributors, we can also follow the advance of clear writing and a turning away from the quaint and curious turns of speech garnered from English models. As Brown points out, only the well-heeled vacationer, for the better part of the century, could travel to New England. Not until the end of the 1800's could shopkeepers, bank clerks, schoolteachers and the like afford short vacations for traveling. Description of such adventures, however, called not only for the language of the sublime but also for gentility, elegance, imagination, and even heartfelt emotional responses to all things scenic, such stances and attitudes adapted, say, from Byron or paintings of the Italian landscape masters. Brown divides her selections into "the uses of scenery," "pleasure and danger at New England resorts," and "a visit to old New England." Among the standouts is Sinclair Lewis's limning of Babbitt's return to Zenith after his second trip to Maine (solo and a failure), in which he discovers that he can not run away from Zenith "because in his own brain he bore the office and the family and every street and disquiet and illusion of Zenith." Pleasure, darkness, and disaster made altogether enjoyable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874519006
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Series: Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 227
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
I The Uses of Scenery
1 from "Sketches from Memory" (1835) 21
2 "The Ambitious Guest" (1835) 30
3 "The Romance of Travelling" from Traits of American Life (1835) 40
4 from Nobody (1882) 54
5 from Their Pilgrimage (1886) 76
II Pleasure and Danger at New England Resorts
6 from Megda (1891) 91
7 from The Gold of Chickaree (1876) 105
8 from Pink and White Tyranny: A Society Novel (1871) 119
9 from Summer (1917) 134
III A Visit to Old New England
10 from Six to One: A Nantucket Idyl (1878) 155
11 from Deephaven (1877) 162
12 "Miss Godwin's Inheritance," Scribner's Magazine (1904) 173
13 from The Vacation of the Kelwyns (1920) 192
14 from Babbitt (1922) 207
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